It was a lazy summer afternoon, and my cat Prissy and I were in the backyard contentedly lying in the sun. Suddenly a large Mockingbird swooped down out of the sky and bumped into my cat, then flew to an overhead branch to screech in protest of the cat's presence. Prissy fled, seeking solace beneath the tablecloth that covered the picnic table. I didn't think too much of it until Prissy finally ventured out, only to be attacked again! This time she ran into the Snowball bush and hid. I have to admit that she made a beautiful picture with her furry face peering out from the brilliant blue flowers. But I was mad now. My poor cat shouldn't have to hide out in her own yard, especially from a bird. I ran inside and got my grandson's water gun. The bird simply dodged the water and flew from branch to branch, determined to get rid of Prissy. I took Prissy inside. Later in the day she and I were sitting on the front porch swing when the bird found us and attacked again. In seconds my husband, disturbed by the ruckus, burst through the front door Rambo style, with an even bigger water gun. This did not impress the bird or persuade it to leave, but it gave me a good laugh. The bird attacks went on for about two weeks. I didn't know what to do. I love birds, but I was getting some pretty mean thoughts about this one. Yesterday evening I happened to notice that it was quiet again on the front porch. No bird. I glanced across the street and noticed a smaller version of the Mockingbird sitting on a fence, spreading and closing it's wings as if exercising. I glanced around and saw the parent birds, calm and sweet as we've come to know birds to be. I smiled and realized that I'd experienced one of Nature's most beautiful moments...and realized the love and dedication that goes along with parenting
I know squirrels are supposed to be bad little varmints, but I love them. I rescued one from inside the ceiling at the sorority house using a live trap. I didn't have the nerve to take the trap out of the ceiling. The maintenance man did that, because this critter had made it clear that if it could get to me I was in big trouble I did feed it water through a straw and some peanuts though. When we let it out in the back its sibling ran up, sniffed it all over, and then both squirrels leapt for joy! I hope your husband doesn't get hurt, Onesockchef. I'm glad you all liked my story.
I feed all these little creatures all winter so when summer comes they expect the same. I get upset when they damage my garden but I know that I would miss them if I found out one day thay they were no longer part of my garden.
The only animal that I cannot stand in my garden is cats! I have nothing against cats as a species, but they wreak havoc in my garden and cause destruction as I will explain.
Cats kill all the wild animals and birds that make my garden their home. I read in a recent report that in the United Kingdom, which is much smaller than the US, 40,000,000 wild animals and birds fall prey to domesticated cats every year! I do not understand why people leave their cats free to roam in other people's gardens. I don't leave my pet Scottie in other people's gardens. Three months ago, my wife and I were watching our favorite chipmunk eat out of a special feeder that we had built for him/her. Suddenly, my neighbor's cat came stealthily from the brush, lunged at the chipmunk, grabbed it in its mouth and ended the little guy's life right in front of us while were standing aghast from inside the house looking out at this scene through a closed window. It took me weeks to get over the shock! I had not realized how much that little creature whom we had come to know for months had actually meant to me!
When I complained to my neighbor about it, she responded by asking me if I had paid any money for the chipmunk! I answered her by sharing with her my feelings for "all creatures, great and small" as the book title was selected by its author James Herriot in Britain. I have great affection and respect for all living things and I understand the laws of nature, except for destruction of a life when it will not serve to feed an animal, but instead will be used as a toy.
It is my one desire that domesticated cats be restrained within the realm of the residence of their loved ones who selected them. Those of us who are their neighbors have established our realm which may contain animal or vegetable life that is incompatible with these cats. Maybe, someday ... .
Bravo, Papa! You are right! I hate the hunting instinct in cats, but I love cats. They have to be restrained to a great degree, or watched closely by the owner. Besides, if you love your cat it is safer to keep it in conditions where it can be closely watched.
Hello again Papa. I had company come in while I was trying to respond to your post, so I'm just getting back to it. I feel so bad for you and your wife in the death of your little chipmunk friend. How devastating! And it was so sad that your neighbor had such an uncaring attitude about a helpless living creature. Thank God for the caring people in the world like you and your wife.
Thank you Pasta Chef for your warm and kind words!
Your cat sounds like a lot of fun OneSockChef! I would not mind having my feather duster eaten by a cat! I don't even mind the scratches on my car! The pleasure and affection with which these animals provide us is so much bigger than any of their little booboos!
I never understood why people but bell on cat's collar. Always thought it was the most annoying thing. Until I got a cat. Boula, in her youth, was quite a hunter. At least once a week she would bring me an offering. Most of the time the bird was still alive. I would release it. Nothing upset her more.
Once she caught a big bird. Too big for her mouth. It was so funny cause she kept trying to push it back in her mouth with her front paws. She dropped it. I am sure you know about scared bird flying all over a room...
That day I got a collar with a bell. She's been wearing it ever since.
The bell collar is a great idea, Iza. It warns other wildlife that a cat is around. I'm a little afraid of collars too, because cats like to climb and could easily get it hung on something. I always read that the stretchable ones are safe.
We sprinkle a mixture of bird seed, corn, and peanuts on the patio, and that's usually where the chipmunks come to eat (they also eat under our birdfeeder and climb up nearby trees & hop onto the birdfeeder to eat). This spring we had two babies who looked liked twins...they both had white spots on their foreheads! But we only saw them a few times, and now we only see an older chipmunk. I always worry when the babies "disappear," because one year we saw what looked like a hawk of some sort grabbing a chipmunk off of our bird feeder and then flying away with it...
Our most recent heartbreaking incident was finding a baby chipmunk in a shoe in our garage whose back legs were paralyzed. We kept him for a few days, hoping we could keep him as a pet (since his chances in the wild were slim), but he died a few days later
We've also had rabbits feeding under our birdfeeder...I'm not too happy when they nibble off flowers in the yard, but I love them anyway. I love to see the babies eating on our patio.
And recent "visitors" have been a couple of mallard ducks (male & female) feeding under our birdfeeder this year. It's fun to watch the interaction of all of the "creatures"! The rabbits were chasing around in circles one night, around the ducks...they just stood and watched the charade
I wish I had a camera or video camera ready at all times to capture these great moments!
It's so nice to find others who love animals as I do
p.s. We have a few cats also, but they are indoor cats. I've known of too many heartbreaking stories of cats being run over by cars or lost, at least where I live.
Papa makes a good point and I wish everyone would consider it?! As a pet owner of 4 cats I couldn't dream of letting my cats roam free. The possiblity of them getting hurt or worse would leave too much guilt in my heart because I know better. I have one outdoor cat that walks quite nicely outside on a leash where I can control his attempts at bad behavior as well as nibbling on so many plants that he becomes sick inside latter.
I also take care of a whole feral cat colony at my work. I'm not sure how they started, if people dumped strays there or if they just wondered in on their own. But there's about 6 main adult cats who have litters everytime they go into heat. Rarely does a new kitten survive to adulthood. Although we have one cat that can be traced back through 10 years of survival the average life expectance is less then 3 years for a disposed of cat. I call her "Moma" (since she had sooo many litters over 10 years) and I finally trapped and neutered her last year...it was quite a challenge, very expensive and a major challenge just to find a vet who would work on a feral.
Please never let an un-neutered animal free to roam!!!!!!!!!! It's a sad hard life people condem these homeless animals to and many kind hearted pet owners don't realize that they are adding to the problem everytime they let their cat run free.
You can buy elastic collar for your cat in most petshop. Should the collar get caught on a branch, the cat can easily get out of it. Mine has a bell plus a tag with her name and phone number.
My cat won't have much use for it now though, she's now an indoor cat. I tried to take her out on a leach but she is not happy about that. I can't believe how scared she is of cars (I am happy about that) and noises in general. I hope she'll adapt well to her new life.
I really think it depends. You can let your cat "roam" and still be a responsible owner, depending on how you do it. If your pet has been fixed, had its shots, and if you live in the country (away from busy roads and lots of neighbors) then I don't see a problem.
However, urban dwellers should never let their cats out. Too often I see dead cats on the road (dogs as well) and it makes me cry.
I don't think a cat should ever, ever, ever, be declawed, though. Cats can be trained not to scratch up the furniture. Declawing is, IMO, one of the most inhumane things to do to a cat. Aside from letting it roam in suburban/urban neighborhoods, that is.
Tips on keeping pesties out of your bird feeders and garden -
Keeping squirrels off the feeders that hang from poles in the ground; grease the pole!!! use Vaseline - it lasts through several rains - get a beer, sit on the porch and watch the fun!! The antics of the little critters as they slide down the greased pole is too much!!
And then there's mixing cayenne into your bird feed - lots of it! Birds don't have taste buds, so it doesn't bother them, but the squirrels hate it!
Keeping critters out of the garden; we live in deer central, so when we first tilled our garden we put up a six foot fence; the first year, we noted it kept the deer out, but smaller critters were climbing through the holes. Soooo we reinforced the fencing about three feet up with chicken wire; kept the small critters out, but one day surprised a ground hog CLIMBING over the six foot fence! They're so fat, I didn't know they could climb like that!!
Went to the local Agway (farmer's supply store), and of course the guy's first answer was 'get a shotgun and sit in the garden'. Well. Then he told me about 'predator urine'. Yep, I'm not kidding!!!! They sell different kinds for different pests - from fox peepee all the way up to cougar!!!!We got the coyote on the Agway guy's recommendation. Comes in a little bottle, with plasitc tubes with holes punched in them, and cotton balls. You squirt some of the - concentrate - on the cotton balls in the tubes, and place them strategically around the circumference of the garden. WORKS LIKE A CHARM!!!!!! Our only concern is whether or not we'll get real coyotes investigating!!!
Roon, re roaming country cats - I don't even think that's a good idea; there's lots of nasty critters who love to tangle with cats in them thar woods - like raccoons, and possom - who can inflict nasty, nasty damage to a cat. Also exposes the cat to diseases; also makes it much more likely your sweet little kitty will be bringing you 'prizes' he's caught! We've had indoor and outdoor kittys, and have settled on indoor kitties with access to a screened in porch whenever they want, and a little pot of kitty grass to munch on.
I totally agree with not declawing - even for indoor kitties!
Marlamady, what you said about the predator urine- amazing! But it is true. The prey won't want to wander anywhere where they smell those "markings". Actually, I imagine the same would probably be true with human urine (most critters tend to keep away from us) but then for most people there's the "gross" factor. (As in "yeah, I'll use cougar pee, but heck no, I ain't peein' in my own garden!!") LOL.
I understand your point about cats outdoors even in the country, but for me, I will need mousers and hunters. They will need to have access to the yard, the barn, and etc. in order to catch their next meal (and so earn their keep!) There are definite indoor cats who wouldn't do well outside, but I have found (from personal experience only) that those cats tend to not want to be outside anyways. The "outdoor" cats do well if they've been raised that way, as opposed to simply letting your house-cat run around outside whenever.
Perhaps it sounds uncaring, but for me it's like the difference between a lap-dog and a work dog. You wouldn't let your lap-dog run around in the country unfettered (not if you're responsible!), and in fact would probably keep it inside most of the time, because it's a pet, meant only for companionship. But if you have sheep or cattle, and have a herding dog, well, that dog, while it may be a companion, is also a working partner, and needs some leeway in where he can and can't go, or else he can't get his job done. Same with the cats. Mousers, and housecats. It doesn't mean that I don't take good care of all the animals- they simply serve different purposes.